The Confessions of Dorian Gray – 1.1 – This World Our Hell
On the 20th of June 1890, Oscar Wilde unleashed onto the world one of the most unforgettable character in literature, the hedonistic and immortal Dorian Gray. More than a hundred years later the same character still plays an important role in our society and after appearing on stage and film, he now also makes an appearance in a series of brand new ‘What if’ audio dramas.
Showcased by the talent that is Alexander Vlahos (Mordred in Merlin) and produced by Scott Handcock (Doctor Who) for Big Finish Productions, The Confessions of Dorian Gray looks at a Dorian Gray that has survived through the ages.
Series one consists of six stories, five half hour episodes and one hour long Christmas special. What’s particularly lovely about this series is that any story is a potential jumping on point for new listeners and being priced at only £2.99 they are a bargain. Being only half an hour long they are perfect for when travelling, cooking and even cleaning.
Part narrative, part acting, The Confessions of Dorian Gray hosts a wide array of talent, from the glamorous Katy Manning of Doctor Who fame to Hugh Skinner, notably from Les Mis. With strong stories and a talented cast, Dorian Gray is a gem in Big Finish’s collection.
Kicking off the series is ‘This World Our Hell’ written by skilled author David Llewellyn (Eleven, Torchwood: Trace Memory) and it really does set the scene and tone for the rest of the series. Set in Paris in 1900, ‘This World Our Hell’ sees Dorian travel to Paris to visit an old friend, whilst unbeknownst to him his old friend battles demons of his own in the infamous Hotel D’Alsace.
What I particularly love about this story and the series in general is that it’s not afraid to take a classic and well known character and flip everything upside down for them, throwing them into new and unexpected situations. In many ways this story does just that. We are here introduced to a Dorian that, in a world of monsters and demons, is not fictional and was indeed the basis behind the novel that we all know of, then putting him in a close relationship with its author Oscar Wilde.
Throughout the piece David Llewellyn shows the utmost respect for the character that is Dorian Gray, and indeed the essence of Wilde (Steffan Rhodri), but he also does not detract from creating an intriguing and at times chilling story about demons, both personal and supernatural.
For the first episode of a new series ‘This World Our Hell’, introduces you to an unexplored world of horror and intrigue with a character that is steeped in secrets of his own. It keeps you hooked from the start and does not fail to deliver at its end.
The Confessions of Dorian Gray can be purchased directly (download only) from Big Finish’s website.